Covid Task Force In Park County Dissolved As Virus Becomes “New Normal”

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

As the pandemic goes, Park County, Wyoming is a pretty quiet place. Critical care unit beds seldom contain virus patients, some people wear masks while others don’t, and school is in session – albeit with safety measures in place.

According to Kyle Paquin, the infection preventionist for Cody Regional Health, the number of cases in Park County has been far less than what they prepared for.  

“Well, nobody really knew how it was going to affect our community, or even our hospital,” he explains. “We didn’t know if we were going to see a bunch of cases, whether it was even going to make it to us. So it was kind of unknown what was going to come of it.”

 So when the pandemic began, Paquin says health officials there created a task force that was designed to handle any potential crisis related to the pandemic. But the worst case scenario never occurred – and six months after its creation, the incident command system was no longer necessary.

While Paquin notes that back in March they were meeting sometimes twice a day, “towards the end it was two times a week, and then it was down to once a week, and we just finally de-mobilized the ICS.”

But the demobilization of the task force isn’t just due to the lower number of cases. According to hospital officials here, it’s because COVID is just now… the new normal. 

“So it just kind of coming to terms that, it’s still here,” Paquin says, “but it’s something that’s become normal for us now.”

And Paquin adds that they’re not the only hospital system that’s making these changes.

“We work with other organizations, with Billings Clinic, Public Health, I work with the state, kind of everybody’s on the same page when it comes to that,” he reports. “We just kind of make sure that we are doing everything that we possibly can to help our hospital.”

With fewer than 45 current active cases, and only one death attributed to the virus since the outbreak began, Park County health officials will continue to urge residents to act responsibly, obey public health regulations, and do their best to keep each other safe.

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